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Eyfs And Outdoor Activities


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Hi everyone,

 

can you please advise on this issue. Now that the government and Ofsted wants us to spend more time outdoor in all weather conditions, some parents in my setting are complaining that they don't want their child outside if the weather is cold or wet we have explained to them about the new standards, but they would not bulge. I am thinking of asking them to write a letter giving permission to the nursery not to take their child out if the weather is cold or wet, which means the whole of the winter period if you think about it, :o this is just to cover us when Ofsted comes. xD What do you think about this.

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I think there is a lot of education needed to explain to parents that children won't catch cold in the wet or the rain if they are wearing the appropriate clothes. They also need to understand the benefits of being able to play outdoors, and the opportunities their children are missing by being kept in.

 

I don't think parents can opt out of parts of the EYFS in this way: but I'm not an expert! Sounds like you could do with some expert advice either from your local authority or from Ofsted.

 

If you offer free flow between indoors and out then children will be making this decision for themselves, but if your parents are asking the setting to keep them indoors when they would rather be outside playing, then there is an issue here about listening to children and respecting their rights.

 

A tricky situation all round, and there's no right or wrong answer, I'm afraid!

 

Maz

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It IS a tricky situation as Maz says.

 

In some cases, I think parents do have a valid argument - we have one child in our setting with a serious heart condition and the parents have asked us to stay alert in case the child's hands and feet get too cold and his temperature drops. Each morning, the parents check the outdoor temperature themselves and inform the nursery staff about whether they are happy for their child to play outside. Staff are very respectful of this request and DO keep the child inside on extremely cold days.

 

But of course, as you both say, there are some parents that just don't wnat their child out when it's cold/wet, with no valid reason. Maybe....just maybe...it would be worth doing a little parent presentation about outdoor play and its place within the EYFS Framework, and tackling this issue as part of that? Educating the parents about the reasoning and philosophy behind what we do is a huge part of our role and not an easy one - this seems to be one of those occasions where it might be necessary! :o

Edited by Wolfie
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I have deliberately included the importance of outdoor play in our policies (which parents have to sign to state they agree with and will uphold), for this very reason. Whilst I sympathise with those parents who argue it is "only 2.5 hours (we are pre-school) so do they really need to be outside as they walked to the setting and will walk home", I don't think a letter from a parent will cut it with Ofsted. Also I wanted to use a free flow system so as Maz said it then becomes a matter of children's rights. I did have a child who also had a condition where cold weather would cause her circulation problems, etc. but this was an issue indoors and out if the weather was really cold. Her parents were insistent she played outside if she wanted to, but that we made sure she had her coat, gloves, hat, etc on. For me it always seems to be those who could genuinely ask for exceptions that are most supportive of our practice.

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I did the same as Holly, during my registration/ induction meeting with parents I explained that my phylosophy was to take the children for a walk every day (we had limited outdoor space), and to ensure their children had adequate clothing.

 

This thread has made me wonder, in light of the requirements of EYFS whether Ofsted would actually expect settings to ensure spare clothing/appropriatte clothing was available, like any other resource needed to ensure the whole curriculum is met should parents not provide adequate clothing.

 

In a sense parents can't opt their children out of literacy or any other area of the curriculum (unless for very valid reasons other than I don't want them to do it), this provision would be the same in every setting in the country, so it's not a case of the child will be moved to another setting, they all follow the EYFS.

This now highlights my objection to the EYFS, it is compulsory to all, with no alternatives on offer to parents.

 

Peggy

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Ha ha - I just read this thread to my husband and he said 'what nonsense! Are you meant to be dictated to by a 3 year old! children are meant to do as they are told! The whole point of a successful society is that we abide by the rules and you can't just do as you want to do - how can children learn this if we let them dictate to us. What would happen if I went into work and said I want my desk outside today - on the beach?' 'And if children all want to stay inside - do you have to force them out just cos some ridiculous here today gone tomorrow document tells you to?

 

Hmmm

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ah - a grandparent asked me on Friday could a child be kept in - because mum was ill and didn't want child out side and getting cold as well and his clothes might get dirty.

 

I explained that no all children have access to outside it was free flow and the benefits of outside. Lets just say I had one stroppy nanny as she muttered "all this puddle jumping rubbish is stupid" - but one very happy little boy who spent the session outside (fully wrapped up and in wellies) having a great time.

 

I am now thinking of ways to sell benefits to this parent - all my other parents love it... and the children well wet, dirty and very smiley.... But I am there for the children and there faces say it all

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We were chatting about the fact that most if not all children, given the choice, will choose outdoor over indoor play and that if you ask any adult for a happy childhood memory it will almost always be an event/experience that took place outside! Mine certainly are!

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The children loves it, just the parents complanning about dirty clothes, getting wet, :o like someone else said in the thread all settings must have outdoor activities, so if they go elsewhere same problem. It is just selling to parents the benefits, best to inform them from registration hopefully xD

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I must admit we didn't go out at all on 2 days last week :o (despite my policy!). We have freeflow to the outdoors but for reasons of safety we don't open the door until all the parents have cleared off. Also as the play area is next to the carpark any upset children tend to throw themselves on the fence and howl if we go out before they are gone. I have had to call a parent on her mobile and ask her to move her car up the road so we can go out as her child had calmed down after spectacular screaming and we were all waiting to go out while she chatted in the car with a friend!

 

But back to my point -in response to Cait's comments. On the two days in question we let the parents go and then I got distracted by something so didn't go straight to open the door. One or two children went over to the window and I heard one of them shout "I'm not going out. It's raining!" and it was bucketing it down. It ended up that no-one made any attempt to go to the door and go out, and no-one seemed to miss it at all. This happened on both days.

 

The staff later discussed it and whether we should have opened the door and waited for someone to go out, but the children usually come up and ask when we are going out while the parents are still in the building, so we decided that it had been children's choice not to go out on those days. I do appreciate there are learning opps in all weathers and there is no such thing as wrong weather just wrong clothing (we have just ordered a job lot a waterproof jackets for them), etc but am I really bad for not going outside those days? xD

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Each morning, the parents check the outdoor temperature themselves and inform the nursery staff about whether they are happy for their child to play outside. Staff are very respectful of this request and DO keep the child inside on extremely cold days.

Well to do otherwise would be denying this child's rights to keep healthy wouldn't it? I don't think the EYFS was ever suggesting children should be turfed out into the snow and rain when they have a serious medical condition!

 

Good job we're all so sensible, isn't it? :o

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At the setting I use to work at we had a couple of children that didn't want to go outside at all !

It did cause a few problems as we couldn't have free flow so it was a case of all out or all in, we didn't have enough staff to cover the correct ratio's inside and outside. I did allow the children to stand in the lobby area where we could see them, they couldn't go into the main hall.

I think it was a case of mother not wanting them to go outside at home just in case they got dirty, by the end of the term they were more willing to go outside for a bit especially by providing activities and resources that followed their interests.It was hard to encourage them outside.

We always had complaints from parents about the children getting dirty,wet and cold I just explained it was part of the daily rountine and I pointed out and showed some of the parents what valuable opportunities, learning and experiences that could be found outside. I also asked them if they could please provide appropriate clothing and footware as we would be going outside everyday for at least 30-45 minutes. Generally they accepted and were very interested in what the children could do and learn, but like I said we always had one or two who complained.

We all have to go with what the EYFS says and will just have to try and educate the parents so they have more understanding of the EYFS and its principles.I know sometimes this is easier said than done as some parents are not interested at all !

The majority of my settings children loved outside play, they always got very excited by the prospect of going out side.

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Hi - having read this thread all weekend I then picked up pre-school answer phone messages - mistake!

 

What are your feelings about a child that was born prem (now 2yrs 9 months) and is prone to chest complaints. Has inhalers etc and if really bad does need to go into hospital.

 

I personally feel that the child is entitled to and needs exposure to fresh air - we are free flow. I know the change in weather can irrate chest problems, but also fresh air is better than reclcyed pre-school - sneezy, coughy air...

 

I have never seen this child wheeze, cough - but mum having a rant that he wheeze's all weekend after pre-school and should be kept in. I know what I want to say ---- what would you say.

 

I'll let you know how I get on - I'm booked for a 9.30 moan :o

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We have just been sent free by our local education authority a set of at least 15 all in one water proof sets for the children to wear in the rain to play outdoors along with 15 sets of wellies. The children love them and can't wait for it to rain so they can wear them. Only trouble they didn't send adult sized ones!

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Great the nannies daughter (from friday) has been in and complained that I ignored her mum's request and made a complaint against me.

 

She spent ages with my chairperson as she is "top dog" and can make a "sensible" decision.Let's just say I am so glad my chair is fab and loves outdoors, but now the mum is going to get a consultant letter as her son has "special need" and should never be outside.

 

I am so fed up with this parent - I am sure she loves her son and wants the best for him. But..... she even asked her 4 year old to spy on the younger one and his first request was to make a telepscope so he can watch his brother as mum wants him to make sure his brother does not play with water or go out.

 

The poor child he is first outside and spends hours at the water tray and when outside is laughing, running and playing. Never seen any sign of wheezing, coughing or out of breath. I am going to scream and then cook some tea....... parents.

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Tess, I have asthma myself and although I am not an authority on it I know that being outside only makes me wheezy if I am starting with a chesty cold/infection. I do not start wheezing after the event and certainly not some days afterwards. I would suggest that perhaps the child was wheezy due to one of those rare things(!) a cold and not because he played out last week. I do have some children who have unstable asthma at the moment. Fortunately their parents are very supportive of outdoor play and don't ask for them to be kept in. I am very aware of them outside though and if they start coughing I encourage them inside for a while and also to sit down. I would expect that if he was coughing a lot while outside, there might be some grounds for the parent's comments but if he was fine while outside then not.

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I am also very jealous of the free waterproofs and would like to move to your area now. Do you have room for me to bring my pre-school, house, children's school and all my families with me?

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We have just been sent free by our local education authority a set of at least 15 all in one water proof sets for the children to wear in the rain to play outdoors along with 15 sets of wellies. The children love them and can't wait for it to rain so they can wear them. Only trouble they didn't send adult sized ones!

Hi

 

What area are you from and did you need to apply!

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  • 3 weeks later...

On a course recently this subject of outdoor provision was raised, we were all asked to say what our favourite childhood 'play' memory was, in a group of 15, 14 had an outdoor memory, need I say more on the importance of offering indoor/outdoor provision. At our setting we aim to have our outdoor area open throughout the session regardless of weather. :o Children are able to choose whether they go out or stay in, whatever the weather may be!

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What are your feelings about a child that was born prem (now 2yrs 9 months) and is prone to chest complaints. Has inhalers etc and if really bad does need to go into hospital.

 

I personally feel that the child is entitled to and needs exposure to fresh air - we are free flow. I know the change in weather can irrate chest problems, but also fresh air is better than reclcyed pre-school - sneezy, coughy air...

 

Hi

This is almost identical to a situation I have experienced pre EYFS ..we did keep the child in according to parental request...and tried to ensure similar experiences were provided indoors though child in question spent alot of time looking longingly out the window...it was very difficult especially if we wanted to go for a group walk...we couldnt because that child was not allowed out.

The door was always wide open anyway so plenty of air getting in but I was never happy with the situation ...guess I should have tried reasoning with parents but I was also concerned about making things worse for the child health wise and then getting the blame.

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